Ambivalent carnivores

Spending time with those two cows last weekend pushed us just a little closer to vegetarianism. I tried to picture the cows as a food source; instead I thought of their big eyes, how they ran to us when it was time for to come in for their dinner, and hung their heads expectantly (trustingly) over their stalls, waiting for hay. (These were beef cows, but not destined to become food…our neighbors have them as large pets.)

Our chickens will slow down (and then cease) their egg production, long before their natural lifespan ends. Which means that we will have to make a decision about running a “chicken hotel” or turning our chickens into stewing hens. I am not sure what we will do when we reach that point.

This reluctance to eat animals that we know personally raises some thorny questions. We still enjoy meat from our local farmers, whose animals we know have been raised (and dispatched) with care and consideration for each creature’s natural proclivities (plenty of land to peck, root, graze). That I can only eat animals I have not met seems hypocritical.

Mark Bittman had an interesting blog post last month—as a nation we are eating less meat. This is great news for many reasons, most significantly our collective health.

For our family, as we wrestle with are our conflicting feelings about meat, we try to follow Michael Pollan’s advice: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

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